Mann has been charged after allegedly hitting a BC hospital worker

Michel Brown says she often faces verbal abuse in her healthcare work, but this is the first time she has faced physical violence.  (Jenifer Norwell/CBC - photo credit)

Michel Brown says she often faces verbal abuse in her healthcare work, but this is the first time she has faced physical violence. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC – photo credit)

On Thursday night, Michel Brown was working as a nursing assistant in the triage waiting room at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops when she heard a man swearing.

Brown asked the man not to swear.

She says the man got up to leave and as he walked past her, he turned and allegedly punched her in the face.

“I was totally shocked,” said Brown, who has worked at the hospital for more than a year. “I was often insulted, but never hit in the face.”

Kamloop’s RCMP confirmed that Camille Gauthier was charged with two assaults and one with willful resistance or obstruction of a peace officer.

According to a RCMP statement, an off-duty officer was in the waiting room and was able to hold a man until Kamloops police officers arrived.

Brown suffered a swollen lip and bruises but said she thankfully didn’t need stitches. Mentally, she says she has problems.

“I’m not doing well. I do not sleep. It crosses my mind a lot,” Brown said, adding that she often repeats the incident and wonders what she could have done differently.

“I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s something I keep thinking about.”

She hopes her opinion will highlight the dangerous circumstances healthcare workers often face.

According to Interior Health, it was an incident of concern and its focus is on ensuring the staff involved are given the appropriate follow-up and support.

It said it has trained security personnel on site at all times to deal with any problems that arise, and security officers are always present in the emergency room. Six security forces were on duty on Thursday evening.

“The safety of staff and patients is the top priority for Interior Health,” it said in a statement.

Submitted by Michel Brown

Submitted by Michel Brown

Violence in hospitals is an ongoing issue in BC

In October, the Department of Health announced its intention to recruit and train 320 internal protection workers and 14 violence prevention officers to address the increasing levels of workplace violence affecting health workers.

At the time, British Columbia Minister of Health Adrian Dix said there had been nearly 4,500 reported incidents of violence in the healthcare industry.

Dix said the new hires would be deployed at 26 hospitals and mental health facilities across the province.

The Hospital Workers’ Union [HEU] says that according to WorkSafeBC, nearly two-thirds of time-loss claims due to violence-related injuries originate in healthcare or social services.

“While incidents like this are shocking, they are not surprising,” says Meena Brisard, secretary and executive director of HEU.

“The solutions aren’t surprising either — we need more staff in our hospitals and nursing homes, and more mental health and addiction resources in the community.”


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